Probate is a necessary process where the court will verify a will and oversee the distribution of assets after you pass away.
For the family, this process can be long and costly. However, with careful estate planning, you can ensure they avoid it.
Own property jointly
Any property owned jointly with another person in Maryland will automatically pass to the surviving owner through joint tenancy. This is a common way for couples to ensure real estate, vehicles and businesses transfer ownership directly to a partner when one dies.
Create a living trust
Placing assets into a living trust means your family will skip probate, and all assets will go directly to the beneficiary listed in the trust. A living trust is similar to a will because you outline heirs for every asset. However, wills go through probate.
While you are alive, you will remain the trustee and in control of your trust. After you pass, the person you named as successor trustee will take over and oversee the distribution process.
Create a transfer-on-death registration
Maryland allows you to register a beneficiary as a transfer-on-death for securities and vehicles. A broker will work with your heir immediately after your death to transfer ownership of stocks and bonds, and vehicles will go directly to the person without probate.
Designate a payable-on-death beneficiary
Maryland also allows you to name a payable-on-death beneficiary for bank accounts and certificates of deposit, allowing the beneficiary to become the account owner without probate.
Estate planning is about seeing your plans through to fruition without contestation.